My Reusable Household Favorites – {Save Money / Reduce Toxins}

+J.M.J.+

Aside from eliminating toxins and harmful chemicals from my home… I like saving money. Conveniently, lots of the glass and cloth things I use around the house help me achieve both of these end goals.

Thanks to so many naturally minded consumers and the zero-waste community, a lot of these options are becoming more readily available.

Here is a list of all of the reusables I use that make life greener and cheaper!

Cloth Diapers

I’ve talked about our gorgeous cadillac stash of Grovia diapers over here before. This amazing stash of diapers is not that much work to maintain and is saving us thousands of dollars over time. They rarely leak, we’ve only had like three blow outs in three years with two different kids, and we are avoiding a bunch of nasty unknown chemicals used in disposables.

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I love my reusable stash of diapers! We never have to worry about running out, plus they’re easy to clean using this laundry routine.

Glass Water Bottles

Reusable water bottles are not a new trend by any means, but using glass is much less common, but really important. Lots of plastic water bottles contain endocrine interrupting chemicals that are really bad for us, and it’s even worse when they get really hot left in the car or dishwasher, causing a greater release of potentially harmful chemicals.

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There are lots of great glass water bottles on the market with silicon sleeves, but my favorite is this one on the right from Contigo. Ethan has this glass Camelback that he enjoys, but I prefer the more straw-like spout on mine. Both are great and super strong / shatter-resistant.

Cloth Rags

Sometimes called “Un-paper towel,” but always simply called “rags” by my mom, I use these all of the time in place of paper-towel. I got a great set on Ikea years ago that I can’t find anymore, but any cotton rag will do. These are amazing for quick spills, wiping the table, or any other time you would reach for paper towel. (The only time I ever still use paper towels is for bacon grease!)

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Cloth Napkins

Once you get used to cloth napkins, the cheap, flimsy paper ones will seem so subpar at mealtime. I got mine at a thrift store for a few bucks, and they’ve been used at every meal in our home for years now.

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Confession: I never fold our cloth napkins unless company is coming over! I just toss them in the bin out of the dryer and they’re ready to go!

Also, unless you have had a particularly messy meal, the same napkin is usually just fine for all of the day’s meals or so.

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I just keep a tub under the kitchen sink for rags and cloth napkins to go into and empty it into the washing machine with other laundry when the tub is full!

A French Press

I recently ditched my plastic, chemical leeching coffee maker for a french press like this one on Amazon. (I got mine used off of Facebook and you can often find these at thrift stores.)

A french press saves you money in two ways: First, the little metal fine mesh piece you press down completely eliminates any kind of coffee filter.

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The added bonus also comes in not needing to use as much coffee! I find that it takes half as much of my coffee grounds to brew the same strength, so I’m saving there too! There are other options you can find too like a Chemex or a pour over coffee dripper. If you want to keep the coffee hot for a while and miss the warming plate of a coffee maker, pour it into a thermos to enjoy later, or you can use my favorite Contigo auto-seal reusable travel coffee mugs I use all the time!

Bamboo and Charcoal Air Purifying Bags

My mother-in-law sent me these Bamboo Air Purifying Bags from Amazon for Christmas and they’re a wonderful, non-toxic, reusable substitute for any kind of a synthetic air freshener. The activated charcoal in the bags absorbs odors and can be cleaned by airing them out in the sunshine periodically.

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These TRULY absorb odors! I leave one in our coat closet that often would smell musty, by the cloth diaper bin, and under the sink by that tub of dirty rags. None of these were super smelly things in the past, but now any occasional unpleasant odor is completely eliminated!

They come in a set with several sizes, as well as a couple reusable refrigerator odor packets.

These are great in places you would use synthetic air freshener, Renuzit type gels, or even spraying Febreeze (all of which have really nasty, toxic chemicals in them!)

Reusable Snack Bags/Sandwich Wraps

I do still use some plastic wrap, but I have greatly cut down on what we use by using these snack bags and sandwich wraps from PlanetWise. They are so easy to use, have strong velcro enclosures, and save money not buying plastic baggies over and over.

35c5bfbb-c1a9-42bb-92c0-bbb071a327eb.jpegYou can also sometimes find these for a great price over at Nicki’s Diapers.

Glass Food Storage

One of my favorite wedding presents was this set of glass food containers with snap on lids. They are durable, easy to use, microwaveable if you need to, and so much better for you than plastic tupperware.

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A typical Ethan lunch ready for work

I’ve actually started a “scrap” container in the fridge as seen below for random items I’ve only partially used. I’m much more likely to finish things up if I keep these half-used foods in one container that I keep checking.

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My scrap food container currently

Cloth Shopping Bags

While there is initial investment in reusable shopping bags, they aren’t that expensive these days, (my great cloth ones from Trader Joes are like $3.99 in store), they last a super long time, cut down on your trash/recycling bin space from disposable bags, and many stores now give you a credit for using your own bags, so they can pay for themselves eventually!

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No, I don’t always remember my bags but I’m getting better the longer I use them!

Cloth Feminine Pads

I saved this one for last for fear of running someone off… but cloth pads are amazing. These have held up to postpartum bleeding and periods. I also wore them when I miscarried baby Andrew and they were completely sufficient.

I have a whole 101 cloth pads post here.

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It’s fantastic not having a bunch of unknown chemicals from cheaply treated cotton against my body. I never need to run out for emergency pads, they don’t feel like wearing a diaper, and bonus, they pop in with my cloth diaper laundry easy-peasy. I bought most of these from Pink Lemonade and they are more expensive, but I also own these ones off of Amazon  which are a quality, more affordable option. (Etsy will also have lots of options for you!)

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I’d love to know what you’re doing to save money or reduce toxins in your home these days!

 

15 thoughts on “My Reusable Household Favorites – {Save Money / Reduce Toxins}

  1. Besides some of the ones you mentioned, I love my cloth baby wipes (baby washclothes). Paired with my homemade wipe solution in a spray bottle, it means that I use one box of baby wipes about every 2 babies! And I mainly use them for doing chalk pastel drawings, not changing diapers!

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  2. I am a grandma now, but never used disposable diapers, and always hung them on the line. They were so white and smelled so gooood! Gave me more opportunities to be outside. Good memories! Always used washclothes to wipe their little bottoms, too. My babies now have babies, and do not use cloth, and it is a shame.

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  3. That’s a fantastic list! I’ll be looking into the reusable sandwich bags and glass water bottles. (I didn’t even know glass water bottles like that existed! I’m so stoked about that!) For school lunches, a friend warned me off of the cheap metal lunch boxes, explaining that they rust. My son has been using one all year, and it really isn’t a bit rusty yet! (Because he looses things ALL THE TIME I can’t invest in a stainless steel one for him.)

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  4. I’m inspired by your kitchen rags!! I cut up my husband’s old white tshirts to use as “paper towels” but they are so thin…I’m wondering if I should try thick ones like you have. Do you do anything special with your laundry to keep them unstained like that? I feel like by the time I wipe up any old spill they’re all stained with juice, etc.

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    1. Honestly, Laura, I don’t do any special laundry sorting. Our cloth diapers and my cloth pads are washed together, otherwise all of our laundry is washed as is, no crazy sorting. I will rinse out a rag that is really dirty and wring it out before throwing it in the laundry bin, but that’s it!

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    2. I do a lot of reusable cloth rags and diapers and sometimes they get a little funky but I just put some baking soda in the washer and it clears the smell. I also don’t sort.

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  5. Love all of this. We are switching to cloth napkins. I use reusable feminine products and actually just started a blog about inexpensive cloth diapering. (I’d love if you’d take a look ;P) As a fellow Catholic, I feel it’s our responsibility to care for this gift of the Earth from God.

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